Posted in Angela's Dog Blogs BEYOND

how a taxpayer owned beach in HRM has become a private dog park for a few people

how a taxpayer owned beach in HRM has become a private dog park for a few people Posted on July 6, 20202 Comments

Silver Sands Beach in HRM has been the site of controversy for many years but recently it’s become a real bone of contention for dog owners in the area. Things have really gotten out of hand and I do not like the way funds have been distributed and allocated in consideration of the current outcome. More public accountability for taxpayers would be welcome from my point of view, up to and including the cost for HRM to post and change signage at the request of the current homeowners. The signage to the easement that was installed by HRM in early 2020 was apparently erroneous, and will be changed I am told as an example. During a pandemic, where budgets are being cut, it doesn’t impress me to see taxpayers money used this way.

So, HRM purchased a portion of the beach a number of years ago and a legal easement was negotiated as part of the purchase. The current landowners (Ross Rhyno and Amall Massey) that abut the park are working to have the easement rewritten. I believe there is a cost to taxpayers associated with that but not certain. Working on finding out more about it. Feel free to contact HRM parks and planning and your city Councillor for more information though.

Both of the current residents of the adjacent property who own the land the easement passes through are members of the Silver Sands Conservation Society. The SSCS has been a driving force behind the park planning and were directly involved with the sale of the property from the Rhyno family to HRM. Draw your own conclusions but I don’t like that one bit.

Business/Organization Name:SILVER SANDS CONSERVATION SOCIETY 
Registry ID:3040251 
Type:Society 
From the Registry of Joint Stocks database search as of July 16, 2020
Name
Position
Civic Address
Mailing Address
BETTY TRZOP
Director
1270 COW BAY ROAD
COW BAY NS B3G 1L4


KARL W. HUDAK
Director
38 GREEN BAY DRIVE
COW BAY NS B3G 1L2


ELIZABETH KWINDT
Director
1228 COW BAY
EASTERN PASSAGE NS B3G 1L4


ROSS RHYNO
Director
1277 COW BAY ROAD
COW BAY NS B3G 1L4


AMALL MASSEY
Director
1277 COW BAY ROAD
COW BAY, HRM NS B3G 1L4


BRENDA MOSHER
Director
1288 COW BAY ROAD
COW BAY NS B3G 1L4


DONALD A. HUDAK
PRESIDENT
37 GREEN BAY DRIVE, COW BAY
EASTERN PASSAGE NS B3G 1L2


KARL W. HUDAK
TREASURER
38 GREEN BAY DRIVE
COW BAY NS B3G 1L2


AMALL MASSEY
SECRETARY
1277 COW BAY ROAD
COW BAY, HRM NS B3G 1L4


DONALD HUDAK
Recognized Agent
37 GREEN BAY DRIVE, COW BAY
EASTERN PASSAGE NS B3G 1L2
37 GREEN BAY DRIVE, COW BAY
EASTERN PASSAGE NS B3G 1L2
this sign was at the head of Cow Bay for a long time I took this photograph last year but it has recently been removed . From the website “Ross Rhyno Founder/President and CEO has a strong and passionate awareness for our environment ” Ross Rhyno is also a Director of the Silver Sands Conservation Society.

On many occassions I have personally witnessed members of the SSCS walking their dogs offleash on the Silver Sands Beach and using the easement. They are still welcome to use the easement if they are friends with Ross and Amall who grant them permission and so this is how the beach has effectively been turned into a private dog park for a few privileged people.

I took these photos on May 22, 2020:

the RCMP and HRM by-law enforcement were trying to figure out the legality of the signage on the easement as there was a recently erected sign by HRM that stated leashed dogs are legally allowed to use the easement to access the beach
this it the sign the homeowners had posted – I have been told by HRM that they have the legal right to do so and the easement will be re-written to reflect this – what???????

I have checked into it extensively with HRM. Leashes dogs are allowed on the Silver Sands Beach. But, Amall and Ross are able to restrict access to their easement at their discretion apparently. So if you could find another way to the beach, which is something Ross actually recommended here:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cow-bay-land-owner-restricts-dogs-silver-sands-beach-1.5308806

you would be legally able to use the beach with your dog. So, what if you try to scale the embankment and injure yourself? Does that put legal liability on Ross for the suggestion? People have asked me that very question and I have recommended they speak with their city Councillor about it. My city Councillor is quite upset with me for asking questions about this but he is retiring anyway, so we’ll see what the next publicly elected official has to say about it. I believe as a taxpayer and homeowner in this community I have a right to ask questions about what takes place in my community but apparently I don’t understand how things work. Hmmpphh.

The easement does not specifically mention dogs being granted access so that is apparently why the homeowners can restrict dogs from being allowed on the easement. They say it doesn’t say dogs are allowed, but I say it also does not state that dogs are not allowed. What about cats? Pigs? Horses? Tim Hortons coffee? Purses. I mean if it’s just people and vehicles can’t Amall and Ross restrict access to anything that is not a person or vehicle? Although it’s something I don’t like the wording of, a pet is considered to be the legal possession of it’s owner. So, I cannot take my legal possession through their easement onto the HRM owned park? Should Amall and Ross hire a security guard to check my pockets to determine what I can and cannot take onto the beach? I mean really. This irks me to no degree.

Anyway, could you legally stop your boat on the beach and get out with your dog and use the beach? If you were on the beach with your dog who was on leash and a dog who was off leash who was allowed to use the easement by Amall and Ross attacked your dog what rights would you have and what would the associated legal implications be?

There are other potential issues with the easement as it states that HRM needs to be able to drive vehicles down the easement. It sure doesn’t look possible from what I see.

Here is something I found on a recent internet search which is a concept put forth the the Silver Sands Conservation Society in 2004.

This is an excerpt from the current easement as of spring 2020.

This is a timeline I have been trying to put together. I am working to make it as accurate as possible and would appreciate any assistance with it. I am not claiming this to be absolute facts but I do have emails to support most of this timeline and information. This is from a spreadsheet I am working on with information in it taken from emails from HRM and the province. So it may need revision at some point but I think it’s very interesting. I am also waiting for some financial statements from the Registry of Joint Stocks that will show what the Silver Sands Conservation Society have done with their monies over the years. There are associated monies involved with some of the activities outline here including grant money from the province and contributions by our city Councillor. I am not listing that until I have all the details but I have been trying to some of this in writing from HRM since November 2019.

2003purchase of beach by HRM which included the legal easement now on Ross Rhyno’s property as part of the sale
2006restoration of the moose statue by SSCS
2006A legal opinion on the abutting wetlands was commissioned by SSCS from Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales
2006cost to relocate moose
2007grant from the province to SSCS and HRM
2007supreme court ruling that LUB does not apply
2012filing for creditor protection by Maritime Demolition while Ross Rhyno president (The largest creditor is the Canada Revenue Agency, which is owed $769,644. Bank of Nova Scotia is next at $650,000, followed by the Business Development Bank of Canada at $593,525)
2012sale of property that Ross Rhyno currently lives in listed on Viewpoint
2013Maritime Demolition sign installed on CowBay Road with Ross Rhyno as president
2014director change on SSCS
2016MUNICIPAL PLANNING STRATEGY FOR EASTERN PASSAGE/COW BAY
2019property of Ross Rhyno sold on viewpoint 
2019rezoning by HRM

There seems to me great interest in developing in the Silver Sands Lake area. This does not seem like “strong and passionate awareness for our environment” or “conservation” to me. But I digress.

I do agree though, that more digging is definitely in order!

Here is the 2007 Supreme Court decision regarding Silver Sands Lake. It appears to remove Coastal Protection and there are erosion problems in the area that many residents of Cow Bay are concerned about.

Many people drive into the park now look at the signs and are confused or offended and leave. Many people do not feel comfortable using the easement and have a difficult time trying to determine whether or not they are allowed on the beach from what I have witnessed over the past year or so on sporadic visits. I don’t believe this is in good spirit and the homeowners are drawing a lot of negative attention to themselves. It’s certainly difficult to look at the current aesthetic of the easement and wonder how they would not think it would draw a lot of negativity and unwelcome curiosity. I’m at a loss to figure out what their desired outcome might be.

I thought it was very beautiful in it’s natural state before all the concrete and astro turf and other adornments were added but my idea of the environment and conservation may not suit the taste of others. I think the naturally occurring flora and fauna would be on my side though.

I took this photo in October 2019 when all the construction on the path started – I used to go birding down there once in a while over the years as many migratory birds and shorebirds visit the area – sad to see nature destroyed in my eyes

In Nova Scotia, “A society is made up mainly of volunteers who join together for the benefit of the general public.”

I am a member of the community and of the general public, and I do not think the Silver Sands Conservation Society is benefiting me at all as a taxpaying, homeowner of Eastern Passage to boot! Definitely not my definition of “Cow Bay Love”. Very sad. Hope it will get resolved. A local embarrassment at best in my opinion. Nova Scotia Strong indeed 🙁

Update as of July 16, 2020 HRM has put a new sign on the easement.

2 thoughts on “how a taxpayer owned beach in HRM has become a private dog park for a few people

  1. Dear Bird Barks Beyond :
    Your blog posts a propos Silver Sands Beach raises a number pertinent questions, and observations. It is understandable that the easement stipulations may seem confusing at this time. However, HRM and the owners of the property are still fine-tuning an ideal agreement for both the private owners and the public who make use of the right-of-way. Ensuring a mutually respectful environment in the access zone is not as simple as your musings suggest. After all, to be fair, while most beach-goers and their dogs surely respect the property, there are numerous recorded instances of minor vandalism to the adjacent property, and cases of both pet and human waste littering the walkway. Naturally, this can derail the owners trust and make them question their decision to agreeing to an easement agreement. On the other hand, you are correct that access through thiswalkway to Silver Sands Beach is vital for a number of individuals, pets, and wildlife. That is why the Silver Sands Beach has strived to preserve its existence, by working alongside of the private owners – who lawfully purchased the property within this particular parcel – for nearly two decades. That being said, the Silver Sands Conservation Society has, like any society, changed its board of directors fairly routinely since its formation in the late 1990s. Furthermore, it has adjusted its goals and mandates, accordingly over the years, in order to best address whichever socio-environmental factors are most prevalent and of peak concern, within a given time-frame. Anyone and everyone in the community has always been welcome to join, and/or apply for a title position. Alas, the Silver Sands Conservation Society has not always held the same member participation, and thus, the list of names and titles you ascribe in your article are not fixed positions, and only present a brief time-frame in the society’s existence. Furthermore, it may of comfort that the society is not presently as active as it had been previously, and will likely dissolve itself by the end of the following fiscal year, given most of the goals have already been accomplished – mainly, ensuring the beach park was established and the easement was negotiated in the first place, and then secured. Beyond this, the society as such, is not involving itself in the socio-political battles surrounding the easement, as these digress from its core purpose. Hopefully, it comes as comfort to you that the SSCS is not a conspiratorial society meant to benefit a chosen few. Never had this been consistent with the society’s raison d’être; though the cherry-picked evidence you provided, which alluded to such an undercurrent, may have convinced you otherwise. On a final note, things are not always as clear as they seem, and it should be recognized that had the stones never below the cliff – aka alongside the easement – then the easement would not even, in fact, still be in existence today to debate about in the first-place. Geomorphological modelling of the beach attests to this, and so you may at the very least wish to be thankful that Ross has routinely used his own time and machinery to reinforce the cliff after and before impending sea surges. This is meant to be mutually beneficial for the beach goers and for his property, alike, and thus, surely not meant to be of detriment to either party. Corrosion is accelerating here, still, and it is almost surprising there is even an access-way to argue about. In sum, I would urge you to consider these points. It may help to eliminate bias and reevaluate the defamatory claims about the Silver Sands Conservation Society.

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